Constance Brown-Riggs and the African Heritage Diet Pyramid

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“In my work with the African-American community, I see a general lack of education in terms of the foods their ancestors prepared and enjoyed; today these food connections are all but lost,” Constance Brown-Riggs, a registered dietician, nutrition educator and author of “The African American Guide to Living Well with Diabetes,” said in a statement announcing the introduction of the diet in November.

“This pyramid is an important new educational tool; it is an innovative way that we, as health professionals, can communicate with, connect to and educate African-Americans,” said Brown-Riggs, who was part of the committee that developed the diet.

The recipes include a number of familiar foods, including pumpkin, jollof rice, black-eyed peas and catfish. The diet also encourages few sweets and minimal meat consumption, including going meatless once a week.

“We are introducing The African Heritage Diet Pyramid because the traditional diets of the African Diaspora…offer a powerful, affordable, healthy eating model and meet the guidelines promoted today by health professionals everywhere,” Sara Baer-Sinnott, president of Oldways, said in the statement.

“Scientific studies show that many chronic conditions now prevalent in African-American communities appear in populations as traditional diets are left behind.”

Click here for answers to your diet questions.

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